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Though no one could have predicted 2019’s chicken sandwich showdown, every year we like to gather ’round the proverbial office water cooler (read: an internal slack channel called Delish Pizza Lounge) and guess what food trends the coming year holds. Here’s what was see in our crystal ball at the start of this new decade…
As the worlds of meal-worthy smoothies and plant-based lifestyles collide, you’re going to see pea protein offered up in place of powders like whey and collagen, both of which are derived from animal sources. But the concept of peas as protein source doesn’t stop there. More and more brands will take a cue from trendsetters like Beyond Meat and add the protein powerhouse to faux meat alternatives and vegan cheeses.
According to Nielsen data, 66% of millennials are making efforts to reduce their alcohol consumption. Some say the “youth” is drinking less because they’re smoking more (the phenomenon’s been dubbed Cali sober). Others chalk up the decline in boozy nights to a rise in Goop-y lifestyles. Regardless, beverage brands are leaning in. New companies offer alcohol-free tipples that look pretty enough to pour in a glass and still feel fancy. Interested? Try a bottle from Seedlip, Kin Euphorics, or Curious Elixirs.
Can we let you in on a little industry secret? All it really takes to make (or break a trend) is for a storied media outlet to weigh in. (You do remember last summer’s Aperol spritz drama, don’t you?) We’re not yet sure why, exactly, the Wall Street Journal thinks lasagna will blow up in 2020. But because they said so, well, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen. It all seems a little like bringing sexy back (has it been long enough that even JT can admit sexy hadn’t actually gone anywhere?), considering we’ve already got 88 lasagna recipes on this very site—but consider our interest peaked. Food brands are clearly already caching on, too: Banza (makers of our favorite chickpea pasta) recently released their first-ever lasagna noodles.
No one asked for the jerky industry to get a shake-up, but here we are. Biltong, which hails from South Africa, is a form of dried, cured meat. But unlike jerky that’s cooked and dried out on racks in the oven, biltong is hung to be naturally air-dried. Perhaps the real reason people are flocking to it? It’s got a healthier rep, often containing no sugar and aligning with paleo and keto lifestyles. Chef’s Cut and Kalahari offer trendy flavors for you to try.
Fast Food Breakfast
If 2019 was the year fast food joints boosted their plant-based offerings, 2020 will be the year they diversify their breakfast options. Pretty much every single major chain is putting out new breakfast options. Wendy’s announced its breakfast menu will be rolling out nationwide this year, Burger King is testing a Breakfast Croissan’wich (stuffed with an Impossible Foods sausage patty, naturally), and McDonald’s finally deemed the McGriddle worthy of an update: A chicken version should be hitting more locations soon.
Italians might scoff at the sight of this on a trends list considering it’s a century-old Roman cooking method that produces lighter, fluffier, and marginally healthier pizza (it’s easier to digest due to the rice, soy, and wheat flours used). But it’s starting to gain more traction stateside, too. San Francisco’s Montesacro, which claims to be America’s original pinseria, seems to be attempting a cross-country takeover (and fans aren’t mad about it). They expanded to Portland, OR, first and came to Brooklyn most recently.
It’s not exactly new, but it’s here to stay. Unlike other trendy diets that remain controversial (cough, keto, cough), not many scientists are squabbling over the idea of limiting your eating hours throughout the day. Research is proving a host of benefits that include an increase in longevity and stress resistance and a decrease in the probability of cancer and obesity. And, hey—Jennifer Aniston’s a fan.
Charcuterie is, quite literally, “cold cooked meats collectively” (sorry), but creative folk have been playing fast and loose with the term and creating painstakingly arranged candy “charcuterie” boards and other dessert-inspired displays. They’ve been especially trendy when pegged to a holiday, but consider this your permission to start employing the trend year round—with whatever food you want.
Less single-use plastic
It starts on the west coast usually: California bans something plastic and the nation follows suit. First it was bags, then straws, and most recently, San Francisco International Airport banned single-use plastic water bottles. Instead of just bans, though, expect to see companies refusing to use single-use plastic in their packaging in the first place.
As of now, Trader Joe’s reigns supreme, dreaming up insanely creative (sauce-stuffed gnocchi) and sometimes downright outlandish (chocolate gnocchi!) varieties. The likes roll in as if on cue each time a new product drops at the infamous grocer (they just announced a kale version), so we except other brands to catch on quickly. Green Giant…the ball’s in your court.
They’re not as scary as they sound. In short, a ghost kitchen is one where restaurants strip the setting of any in-house dining options, creating a large commercial space that can churn out more food. This results in delivery- or pick-up-only restaurants. Last year, we saw companies beginning to experiment with the model: Starbucks opened a pick-up location in New York City, and Chick-fil-A piloted a program to test three delivery-only spots in three major cities. Pending their success, 2020 could be the year they go nationwide and more companies hop on board.